This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page will answer many of the questions that we’re regularly asked about Fanderson and the way in which the club operates. With one notable exception this page isn’t designed to answer questions about the Gerry Anderson productions, as you’ll find answers to many of those questions on our “Productions” pages.
So, firstly, our most received question: What does 'FAB' stand for?
Nothing! Despite appearances, as used by International Rescue in Thunderbirds 'FAB' is not an acronym – it’s simply a call sign like 'Roger' or 'Ten-Four' to acknowledge received instructions. In the 1960s, when Thunderbirds was in production, the term 'fab' was in common parlance as a shortened form of 'fabulous' which, of course, everything was. The phrase has enjoyed resurgence in recent years and 'FAB' itself entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2002: "'FAB [interjection British informal] an expression of agreement to, or acknowledgement of, a command [from British television series, Thunderbirds]." .
What is Fanderson?
Fanderson is a club for fans worldwide of all Gerry Anderson television and film productions. It was formed in 1981 at the request of ITC Entertainment who wanted to assist and support one single fan body for all of the Gerry Anderson productions to which it owned the copyright. The club is based in the UK and organised by a small unpaid committee of longtime Gerry Anderson fans.
What was Fanderson's relationship with Gerry Anderson?
Gerry was instrumental in forming the club and was our honorary club President until his death in 2012. He took an active interest in everything we did, regularly contributed to the club magazine by providing information about his latest projects and answering members’ questions, and always made time to offer assistance as required. However, he entrusted all decision-making about the organisation of the club, its merchandise and events, to the members of the committee.
What is Fanderson's relationship with ITV Studios Global Entertainment?
The licensing and development rights to the properties in the ITC Entertainment library of films and television programmes are now owned by ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which recognises Fanderson as the only official appreciation society for Gerry Anderson's work. This special relationship gives us access to the ITC library of photographs and other materials, and free licence to produce merchandise based on the television series produced by Gerry for ITC between 1960 and 1976. In return Fanderson provides ITV with an information resource, consultancy service and assistance to their commercial merchandise licensees, should they require it.
Fanderson's status as the official Gerry Anderson appreciation society was provided in perpetuity by Gerry Anderson himself. ITC Entertainment authorises Fanderson's status as the only officially-recognised appreciation society for the television series on which they retain the copyright: Supercar, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, Joe 90, The Secret Service, UFO, The Protectors and Space:1999. The owners of all other Gerry Anderson productions also recognise the club’s official status.
Despite the club's relationship with ITV, ITC, Anderson Entertainment and other copyright holders, Fanderson is independent of any company or individual.
Who runs Fanderson?
The club committee is formed of club members who offer their services. Committee positions are unpaid and duties are performed in members’ free time. Committee service continues until an individual decides to 'retire', is dismissed for acting against the best interests of the club, or is replaced by member vote at our Annual General Meeting. Vacant committee posts are advertised in FAB magazine, and in the past positions have come about from members suggesting roles to improve the running of the club.
Do you have an Annual General Meeting (AGM) where I can put questions to the committee?
In March 2015 we will be holding an AGM. We will, however, ensure the meeting is scaled to the number of members who commit to attend, to ensure that we do not waste club funds. Members unable to attend will be able to vote on any motions.
Alternatively, members can always put questions to the committee by writing to/e-mailing us, or starting a thread on the Interface section of the Fanderson Forum. Conventions also provide an excellent opportunity to talk with committee members.
Do you publish club accounts?
The club’s financial status is reviewed at every committee meeting and accounts are published on the Interface section of the Fanderson Forum.
Why do I have to join Fanderson to buy your merchandise?
1) As a club, in which we ‘mutually trade’ with fellow members, UK tax laws exempt us from paying income tax. To do otherwise would mean we’d have to pay tax and add this to the selling price of our merchandise, making everything more expensive.
2) Our relationship with the copyright holders of the various Anderson productions means that Fanderson is allowed to produce limited edition merchandise without purchasing the merchandise licences that other manufacturers must buy. However, this arrangement is on the strict understanding that Fanderson only allows its products to be sold to club members. The alternative of buying a merchandise licence would inflate the production costs beyond what most members could afford - based on the limited quantities that Fanderson produce (commercial manufacturers are able to spread the cost of the licence fee over the production of a much larger number of items, anything from 10 to 50 times the number of units that Fanderson produces).
3) The club's status, combined with the factors above, enables us to invest in items of merchandise that would be financially unviable to commercial merchandisers, based on the relatively small quantites that they could expect to sell.
4) As with any club, to give like-minded people the opportunity to meet and have access to products and services that are not available to the general public.
Why don’t you introduce a two-tier pricing system, with a premium for non-members who want to buy your merchandise?
Please see the above answer but, if it helps, think of the membership fee as that premium - which also happens to give you access to the full range of club services and products. Just let us know if you don’t want to be sent your membership pack and FAB magazines and we’ll invest your membership fee in services and merchandise instead.
Why are some of your items of merchandise more expensive than similar items that I can buy in shops?
Even without the cost of a merchandising license, our limited production quantities mean that our unit costs are sometimes higher than they would be on comparable commercially-produced items. Taking Fanderson's soundtrack CDs as an example, there are many factors that contribute to the production cost such as engineering, editing and digital remastering, the hire of recording studio facilities, manufacturing, duplication and on-body print, packaging reprographics and print, composer royalties, musicians' royalties, and so on. If these production costs amount to, say, £16,000 then Fanderson's unit cost is £16 each based on the production of 1000 units - the quantity that the club might reasonably expect to sell. By contrast, if a commercial manufacturer expects to sell 5,000 copies of a comparable CD his unit cost is reduced to around just £3.20 each, onto which he can add a considerable profit.
I don't live in the UK. Can I still join the club?
Yes, of course! About a quarter of our members live outside the UK. You will find full details of membership rates and how to pay on the membership form/website. Just add to the membership fee the postage for the part of the world in which you live.
Can I order merchandise at the same time as applying for membership?
Yes. Just add your membership to your cart whilst shopping online and you’ll be charged for your complete transaction. Note, however, that Memberships and Sales are separate operations, located in different parts of the UK. We’ll always complete your membership application before fulfilling your order, which means your merchandise may take a few weeks to be delivered.
How can I pay for my membership?
We accept payment in Pounds Sterling (GBP) only, and you can pay by cheque (with a UK bank sort code), UK postal order, most major credit and debit cards and PayPal if you use our online option. Full details are on every membership form and our website. If you pay by card we will charge you in Pounds Sterling (GBP), and your card company/bank will do the conversion and charge you in your local currency. So that you can check the amount that you’ve been charged your card statement will usually show both currencies.
How do I raise a Sterling money order?
Most banks throughout the world can exchange your local currency into Pounds Sterling (GBP), although there is often a charge to you for doing this. A much more economical way is to pay by credit or debit card.
Why do you have so many different addresses? Can I send mail to just one?
The Fanderson committee members live at different locations across the UK, so sending your mail to the right address (as detailed on our forms and in FAB magazine) means you’ll get a much quicker response. Our PO Box is really for ‘first contact’ queries or for submitting letters and articles to FAB magazine. Of course, mail sent to any of our addresses will get forwarded to the right people, it might just take a little time.
When is my membership due for renewal?
Your welcome letter tells you when your membership expires initially, and the mailing label on your FAB envelopes always carry this detail. You will also be sent a renewal form with the last FAB issue of your current membership.
When is the next issue of FAB magazine due to be published?
FAB is published every four months. Each issue gives the month that the next FAB is due and we’ll confirm this on our website when we know the latest issue has started landing in members’ homes.
Can you tell me when (insert programme title) is to be broadcast on TV, or released on DVD or Blu-ray Disc?
If Fanderson is provided with broadcast/release details in advance we will post this on the News page of our website.
Can I buy (insert programme title) on DVD from you?
The full range of Fanderson merchandise is on the Fanderson Sales pages of our website and the latest catalogue is sent to all members with each copy of FAB magazine. We cannot supply any items that are not listed in the catalogue. However, try somewhere like www.startrader.co.uk for other items (included those no longer in production).
I've got a rare piece of 1960s merchandise. Can you tell me how much it's worth?
Sorry, but we don’t offer a valuation service. However, where appropriate, we can put you in touch with professional auction houses that have greater expertise in the current value.
Can I get autographs from the various people involved in making my favourite programmes?
Sorry, but we don’t offer an autograph service. However, our convention guests are more than happy to provide sign autographs for delegates.
How do you decide what merchandise to produce?
Members’ suggestions, including the information about their preferred productions helps us to target our efforts towards the most popular shows, although we aim to cover all of them to some degree. Many of our items have either been suggested by our members, or in some cases actually produced by our talented members.
Can I play your DVDs outside the UK?
Yes, we want everyone to enjoy our programmes. In fact, Fanderson's first DVD release, The Day After Tomorrow/Space Police, was the world's first internationally compatible disc, with PAL on one side and NTSC on the other.
When and where is your next event or convention?
The Future Is Fantastic will be held at the Holiday Inn, Maidenhead on the weekend of 2nd-4th October 2015. It’s the closest weekend to the 50th anniversary of Thunderbirds’ first broadcast, so we’ll be celebrating that along with all other Anderson productions. We will also be celebrating ITV Studios’ fantastic new series – Thunderbirds Are Go! – which is due to premiere in 2015.
Last edited by Derek Eaton; Yesterday at 06:20 AM. Reason: Unusual sun flare activity